What is HPV?
The human papilloma virus (HPV) is a sexually transmitted virus which can cause a number of conditions. There are over 100 strains of the virus, most of which are not dangerous. Many types of the virus can cause harmless growths such as verrucas and genital warts. It is very common for people who are infected not to develop any symptoms or complications at all. However, there are also a small number of strains which increase your risk of developing cervical cancer.
HPV and Cervical Cancer
Having the virus does not mean that you will develop cancer later in your life. The majority of sexually active women are infected with a type of HPV at some point in their lives and the virus usually clears within a few months without treatment. However, if the infection persists it increases your risk of cancer, which is why it is important to get regular smear tests.
Human papilloma virus (HPV) is the leading cause of cervical cancer; 99% of all women who are diagnosed with cervical cancer carry a high risk strain of HPV. Cervical cancer is the second most common cancer found in Thai women, after breast cancer. However, it is the most fatal form of cancer for Thai women between the ages of 30 to 60.
Who is at risk of catching HPV?
HPV is transmitted during vaginal, anal or oral sex. If you have had unprotected sex, you may carry a strain of HPV. You should always use a condom to prevent infection with HPV and other STIs.
Prevention of cervical cancer
Cervical cancer can be prevented by taking an annual screening for cervical cancer, starting from the age of 25 or when sexually active. There are three types of cervical screenings for cervical cancer:
1. Invasive - Pap smear (cervical cytology) is a method used to examine the cells of the cervix for abnormalities. These abnormalities can then be treated at an early stage before possibly developing into cervical cancer.
2. Invasive - HPV DNA testing using cells from the wall of vagina.
3. Non-invasive - HPV DNA Urine Test
Is the HPV DNA Urine test the same as a Pap smear test?
The HPV DNA Urine test checks whether you have contracted a high risk strain of HPV. It is not the same as a smear test, which checks for abnormalities of the cervix. You need to continue to attend regular smear tests, even if your HPV test comes back negative.
Is there a vaccine for HPV?
Yes, you can vaccinated for HPV, regardless of whether you test positive or negative. Many hospitals and clinics in Thailand offer HPV vaccinations for girls from the age of 12. Vaccination is also beneficial to boys and men as it protects from genital warts. Current vaccines (eg. Gardasil) have to be taken in 3 doses over a 6 month period and vaccinate against HPV types 6, 11, 16 and 18.
- This test is outsourced to a Thai Ministry of Public Health accredited laboratory with valid ISO 15189-2012 and 15190-2003 certifications.
- PTC is cannot be held responsible for the results of this test in any way.
- This external laboratory does not share the same accreditations as PTC.